Craig Counsell was the bearer of some disappointing news this weekend. Right-handed pitching prospect Dylan File will be sidelined while he recovers from surgery to repair a right elbow stress fracture. The surgery has kept him from throwing in Spring Training and will keep him off the mound for the next few months.
This is an early blow to the Brewers’ pitching depth. File is a surprising prospect replete with potential but is far from tested at the major league level. In 2020, COVID-19 sent him to the alternate training site rather than the Triple-A assignment he earned in Double-A Biloxi. He was as expected to get his first big league innings in 2021 before being sidelined by the elbow surgery. He projects as a spot starter, injury replacement, or reliever in a piggyback start scenario.
File earned his spot on the 40-man roster exceeding expectations in the Brewers farm system. In 2017, the Brewers picked him in the 21st round from a Division II school. In 2019, he went 15-6 with a 3.24 ERA across 26 starts in Class A Carolina and Double-A Biloxi. He allowed only 22 walks while striking out 136 batters. Ranked as the Brewers’ #21 prospect in 2020, he appeared at the alternate site before leveling up to the 40-man during the offseason.
Big league innings in 2021 are still a possibility for File, who should resume throwing in late June or July and will spend some time rebuilding in the minors. Tune in to the first games of Spring Training, and you’ll hear much talk about managing pitcher innings in the return to a 162-game season. The Brewers still have plenty of RHP depth on their 40-man, but File could provide a ready arm as a September call-up.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Baseball America